An educated girl compares the shoes of a failed politician to those of the Taliban. Finally, she imagines the shoes she will wear to repair the damage done to her country.
I want to be a politician! There are two major reasons I am into politics.
The first and foremost reason is our former president, Mr. Ashraf Ghani. All Afghans believed in him and thought that he would be medicine for their pains. But after nine years of governing, he left the country with hundreds of problems. Afghanistan became the unhappiest and most corrupt country in the world. The poverty rate rose, girls were prevented from going to school, and people were killed. He spread discrimination and destroyed the trust that existed between people and politicians. Ghani showed that a politician is no more than a liar, a murderer and a thief. He was in such a hurry to leave that he forgot to wear his shoes: when he skipped the country with money in his sandals! Then the Taliban got the control of the government, leaving people with no choice but to try to escape. They became refugees, displaced from their country.
History will not forget the image of young boys falling off the departing American planes. So, Ghani’s betrayal inspired me to become a politician–but not one like him!
My second reason is that I am talented, loyal, honest, and most importantly, I am passionate about politics. I believe in myself. I know that politics is not what our politicians have shown us during these years. I want to bring back good relationships between people and politicians.
One thing I would like to change is the Afghan education system. I can improve it by addressing two major problems. First, the books in schools do not teach students what they need to know. They don’t address modern life or today’s challenges. For example, the books on environmental issues contain outdated information and data. In general, none of our textbooks teaches critical thinking or creative thinking or ways to shape powerful minds. Second, in Afghanistan, most teachers are not qualified in basic education or specific fields. Teachers have to be trained. When these two aspects are changed, we would have generations who spend energy to build society, not to destroy it.
I imagine you are asking whether this change is possible while the Taliban is holding power. The answer is yes! I admit that the Taliban is the biggest challenge not only for me to serve as a politician in Afghanistan but also for all girls like me. We know that Taliban members are human, but they don’t show humanity. Their dirty traditional shoes, chawat, reflect their closed minds. They call themselves Muslims, but they are not true Muslims. If what they say were truly the guiding words of the Quran and Allah, we wouldn’t want to be Muslims. We don’t believe what they believe is the word of God. Does Allah say that women should not get an education?
This kind of Muslim will not go forward and improve the system. Educated and open-minded people like me will block them. Don’t forget that the Taliban had a period of governing from 1996 to 2001. Their government collapsed, and we opened another chapter in 2002. We can do it again!
The Taliban are afraid of educated girls. They know that when we get education, we will stand up for our rights. We will make an educated generation. We will fight them not with guns but through education. With my friends I will go to Canada and continue my education. We will all be back one day with unlimited power.
Tonight, while I am writing, I am imagining myself in simple black shoes with medium-sized heels. I am wearing a dark black coat and walking towards my political office on Dasht-e-Barchi Road where Hazara live. I will represent all the hard work and sacrifices made by the people.
Geti Hakimi was born a refugee in Pakistan in 2002. Shortly thereafter, her family returned to Afghanistan. She graduated from Pegah High School in 2020. In 2021, she was accepted by the American University of Afghanistan. However, her education ended when the Taliban took over. With a team supported by the 30 Birds Foundation, she fled Afghanistan on October 11, 2021.
Portrait: Wendy Paterson with Geti Hakimi